Atlantic Shopping / Inspiration-and-advice / Compact Bar Stools

Compact Bar Stools

By Philippa Baker, 18th June, 2013

From skinny lattés to flat screen TVs to skinny jeans to tablet PCs, the lean look is a big deal these days. With compact bar stools becoming increasingly prominent within domestic and professional settings alike, the old age saying that less is more has never been more true. Characterised by their ability to be as subtle or as show-stopping as befits your purpose, it’s possible to create a great looking bar area without using up too much space in the process. With our fabulous range of slimline bar stools you can enjoy all the comforts offered by more elaborate pieces of furniture, with absolutely none of the fuss. This essay will talk you through the different factors to take into account before you make your purchase.

Take a look at some of our best-selling backless compact designs:

For the Space Conscious

Perfect for use in smaller interiors, bar stools offer beautifully slimline alternatives to conventional kitchen seating. Their slender frames serve their purpose without crowding their surroundings, meaning you can fit more of them into a given space.


Compact Addison Stools at Kitchen Island

Addison Brushed Steel Stool Black


You will no doubt have a predetermined number of stools in mind according to your needs. Before buying, you should take into account the quantity needed versus the space you have available. Maybe you only have a small kitchen or bar area and are struggling to find stools compact enough to fit; or it could be you’re simply after minimalist designs that won’t be the focal point of the room. Whatever the reason, we recommend you leave a minimum of 10-15cm between each seat, allowing ease of accessibility and optimum mobility, or use our Bar Stool Width Calculator, found in the Bar Stool Buying Guide, to work out the ideal stool width for your bar.

Slimline Structure

Five different facets have an effect on the visual bulk of a stool - we will deal with each of these in turn - giving some examples.

1. Backless vs With Backs

Did you know backrests can play a significant role in determining the bulk of a bar stool? It’s undeniable that backless models will always be slimmer than those with backs. Not visible over the counter, backless seats help to open up a kitchen or bar area by creating a sense of space. On the other hand, high back designs provide extra back support but will peek above the bar or worktop, meaning they’re frequently favoured by those who use furniture as a focal point.

Here are a selection of some of our most compact bar stools with backs:

For the best of both, why not choose a low lip backrest. A minimal design with added support and reassurance, it’s an immensely popular feature used on slimline products like the Shimmer. It all comes down to personal taste, so be sure to consider the way your bar stools will affect the overall dynamic of the room prior to making your purchase.

2. Seat Shape

You should also take seat shape into consideration. Visually, a circle will take up less space in a room than an angular shape like a square. Plus, if given a circular seat and square seat with the same diameter, the circle will take up less physical space due to the absence of corners. As you rotate them, the square’s angular nature means it will be much more likely to bump against its surroundings, whereas the circle’s rounded design ensures it will not take up any more room and rotate within its own space. See the following diagram illustrating this point:


Square vs Circular Stool Bases Diagram

3. Base & Gas Lift

The base defines the overall width of an item, as it determines how much space the stool occupies. Round bases with single stem columns and gas lift mechanisms are highly practical whilst delivering a sleek modern look. Exuding versatility, they can be easily adjusted to their lowest height for compact storage. Neatly stored away under the kitchen counter, they are out of sight and out of the way.

The average round base measures a minimum diameter of 38cm, so if you’re really pushed for space, why not opt for a stylish ‘Z’ or cantilever frame which typically boast smaller base dimensions. Our smallest design, the Zizi, is immensely popular, proving that that you don’t need a big and burly model to make a bold statement. On the other hand if you’re after a more traditional look, you may prefer a four legged bar stool. More compact in size and shape than many dining chairs, they make a highly credible alternative to conventional kitchen furniture.


Vintage Revolution Stools at Kitchen Island

Vintage Revolution Stool

4. With Arms

Many of our customers think armrests will provide a much more comfortable seating experience. Whilst this may be true with dining chairs, in actual fact they’re not as vital with bar stools as you will naturally lean forward, resting your arms on the bar or worktop instead. Furthermore armrests can add substantial width to a stool, our widest model measuring in at 60cm. Whilst products such as the Studio are great if you have more space, a leaner design like the Linear will be much more suited if you’re more limited.

5. Minimalist Materials

Certain materials are designed to create the illusion of simplicity and slimness, adding character to rooms without overcrowding them. Translucent or even transparent acrylic perspex promotes optimum optical space, as light travels straight through them. A prime example is the Stardust, its flawlessly clear colour and stylish gap in the backrest occupying minimal visual space for maximum impact. Mirrored chrome can also have a minimalist effect, skilfully reflecting its surrounding environment.


"Did you realise colour can also play an important part? Clean-cut white and silver give a light and airy feel, blending in with lighter schemes. Likewise wooden models will camouflage with rustic panelling, whilst infamously slimming black will get a skinny look out of a bulkier design."

Our range of compact bar stools prove once and for all that big things really do come in small packages. Whatever space you have available, you’ll find something in our wide range of designs that’s guaranteed to meet your needs.


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